Friday, June 10, 2016


As you can probably surmise, the deck is my next project that I have begun. It should have been tackled a lot earlier but for awhile we were kicking around what our ultimate goal is going to be behind the house, namely below this deck. There is a crude concrete patio beneath that actually sits higher than the slab of the house so when we get real toad strangling rains, it can cause water to run up against the house where it previously water damaged the siding and underlayment. With both of those replaced, I want to fix that problem sooner rather than later. That means digging up the slab underneath, regrading to the proper height and putting in a new patio.

However, with all the things going on this year, there just isn't money in the budget to tackle it this year which means I let the deck slide another year or work on it this year and risk throwing away money if we decide to change it. After some consideration, I figured that whatever we end up with for a future layout, I can probably take that into consideration with the new patio so we can use the old deck a few more years and then redo it sometime in the future, after the patio has been completed. With that in mind, I broke out the power washer in the background and after snapping this picture, proceeded to thoroughly clean and strip any loose stain off the deck boards.

There are several things I hate about this deck. Whoever screwed the deck boards down drove the screws at all sorts of crazy angles making holes and splinters in the deck boards larger and worse than they really needed to be. These days they make jigs that allow you to screw them down from the side where they aren't even seen. The boards they used were very wet most likely and have shrunk a lot over the years leaving almost all the screws popped out. So before I did anything, I had to scrape the dirt and layers of stain out of the screw heads and sink them further into the deck which was a very laborious process. Many screws have twisted off or broke off over they years which makes sinking them further or removing them impossible. Some in the path where I most often walk I dig out anyway and others I just leave.

The power washer removed layers of dirt and some old stain but the majority remained behind. I had ideas of completely getting the old stain off to go with a lighter stain but after a half gallon of deck stripper at $45/gallon, I couldn't quite get a 2 square feet area down to bare wood so decided it was cost prohibitive to continue. Of course staining over old stain is not as good as staining over bare wood as far as life expectancy goes but since this deck may not have a long life ahead of it, I decided to roll the dice.


sage said...

I have a deck that is requiring a lot of work... I am putting it off but sooner than later will have to get to it.

Ed said...

Sage - I find it easy to put off for weather reasons. In the spring, we get too much rain too often, in the summer and fall it is too hot and in the winter too cold. Fortunately, a serious bout of hot weather forecast to arrive tomorrow got me motivated to finish it by today.

Kelly said...

I like your raised beds on the deck!

Considering it'll probably get pulled down to make way for a new one sooner than later (perhaps a nice autumn project?), I can understand not putting a lot of money or effort into it now.

We had a deck once. Then we got a Rottweiler puppy who liked to chew wood! He ended up moving inside (for other reasons) and we ended up with a new brick/glass sunroom which I much prefer to the deck.

Ed said...

Kelly - We have a ton of deer that use our backyard as a thoroughfare so any garden we put in will have to have a tall fence surrounding it. Plus the backyard doesn't get as much sunlight as our deck. For those two reasons, thus far we have a small planter on the deck for snack type items and raise most of our veggies down on the farm. Someday I would like to expand a few more small raised beds behind our house but I still have other things to accomplish on my master list first.

Vince said...

Back about 2000 until about 04 decking was the big thing here and the UK. Mostly, it has to be said, drawn from architecture and home improvement mag's out of California. So you had the skyscraper, the cantilever, the under and over, the 2/3 the footprint of the house. There was as many designs as lunatics about thinking they were designers.
Ok, a pro's advice. There is nothing easy about decking. There is nothing cheap about decking. And there is absolutely nothing low maintenance about it either. So if you can get rid of it, do so. Try something like a marine ply with a layer of waterproof tile cement and put large tiles down instead. Or better, a floor of concrete with tile on top to zhouz it up.

Ed said...

Vince - Although decks are still popular here, the stone patio is making a comeback these days. The only drawback to putting marine grade plywood and tile such as you suggest is the slope of the deck. There is none so I would soon have a water issue under my siding. If I were to start from scratch, I would go with one of the PVC 'wood' planking options for an above ground deck and a stone patio for one on the ground.